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Cooling zone opens as Valley heats up

Mike Conway

Post Date:07/23/2019

City opens Cooling Zones as temperatures climb

The City of Merced is opening its cooling center immediately because temperatures will stay in triple digits and the National Weather Service has declared an excessive heat watch. Other agencies in Merced County are also opening Cooling Zones to accommodate their residents.

Cooling zone will open Tuesday through Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m. in the Sam Pipes Room in the Merced Civic Center, (City Hall), 678 W. 18th St. 

The Cooling Zone is open to anyone who needs to come in out of the heat. People can bring their pets as long as they are housebroken and get along with other animals and people in the Cooling Zone. Water and some snacks are available, along with family-oriented entertainment.

'It's going to be hot and humid, so be careful,' said Merced Mayor Mike Murphy. 'Stay hydrated and make sure everyone in your family drinks lots of fluids and stays cool.'

'This is the time to be extra neighborly and check up on your friends and the people around you to make sure they are doing OK,' he said. 'Remember, the heat is hard on our vulnerable populations.'

'If you only have a swamp cooler, if you don't have air conditioning or it's broken, visit a friend or family member with AC, or come to our Cooling Zone,' said Fire Chief Bill Alcorn.

'And whatever you do, don't leave young children or pets in a vehicle under any circumstances. It can have deadly results in just minutes,' Alcorn said.

When you're outside drink plenty of water and dress in light, comfortable clothes. Exercise in the mornings or after the sun goes down, he said.

The heat index is expected to reach 104 to 105 degrees today and Wednesday, and then temperatures will hit 104 degrees by the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. An excessive heat watch has been posted for Thursday through Sunday.

Below are some tips from the state Office of Emergency Services.

Tips to Prevent Heat Related Illness

' Never leave infants, children or the frail elderly unattended in a parked car.

' Drink plenty of fluids. Don't wait until you're thirsty.

' Dress in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Use a hat and sunscreen as needed.

' Drink fruit juice or a sports beverage to replace salts and minerals lost during heavy sweating. (If a client/resident is on a low-sodium diet, check with his/her physician first.)

' During the hottest parts of the day, keep physical activities to a minimum and stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun.

' Use fans as needed.

' Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate when appropriate.

' Use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths.

' Avoid hot foods and heavy meals'they add heat to the body. Eat frozen treats.

Read more: Division of Occupational Safety & Health (bilingual resources), Center for Disease Control and Prevention Tips for Preventing Heat-related Illness

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

Heat stroke -- which occurs when the body can't control its temperature -- may result in disability or death if emergency treatment is not given. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a large amount of water and salt contained in sweat.

Warning signs of heat stroke vary, but may include:

' An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, orally)

' Unconsciousness

' Dizziness, nausea and confusion

' Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

' Rapid, strong pulse

' Throbbing headache

Warning signs of heat exhaustion vary, but may include:

' Heavy sweating

' Muscle cramps

' Weakness

' Headache

' Nausea or vomiting

' Paleness, tiredness, dizziness

What to Do

If you see any of these signs for heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency and should do the following:

' Have someone call 911 while you begin cooling the victim.

' Get the victim to a shady area.

' Cool the victim rapidly with a cool bath or shower, or by sponging with cool water, until body temperature drops to 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, orally.

' If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.

' Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.

' Again, get medical assistance as soon as possible.

If a victim's muscles twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke, keep the victim from injuring him/herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his/her side.

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